Show your support for our local artisans

4th August 2021 | Eativity editors

After a successful launch in 2020, Aussie Artisan Week (August 16-23) has returned to continue its support of local artisans and producers. Aussie Artisan Week founders Pierre Issa and Melissa Altman of Pepe Saya Buttery have joined forces with artisans from across the country to encourage all Australians to consciously choose to support, champion and purchase locally made products, buying direct from local artisans where they can.

Expanding on its efforts in 2020, which saw a passionate community form and introduced Australian consumers to a range of artisans and quality products, this year Aussie Artisan Week aims to help define what being an artisan means, highlighting the role these hard-working producers play as essential members of our community.

There’s crumpets, and then there’s Crumpets by Merna.

An artisan is defined as someone who does skilled work with their hands, but Aussie Artisan Week aims to celebrate how integral they are to our community and to Australian culture. When you buy from local artisans, you’re supporting farmers and small businesses, and you’re helping to build and support your local community. This sense of community has become increasingly important as artisans – and everyday Australians – continue to deal with the restrictions in place due to the growing COVID-19 outbreak across the country.

Aussie Artisan Week is calling for Australians to support artisans of all kinds, whether they be growers, cheesemongers, bakers, winemakers or picklers. The call to action is simple:

• Visit your local farmers’ market

Shop on your local high street

• Buy online direct from artisans when you can

Pierre Issa has his hands full running Pepe Saya, but still found time to create Aussie Artisan Week.

During the pandemic, many local businesses, including Pepe Saya, have had to transform their operations after on-premises and direct-to-consumer sales dropped dramatically due to the closure of restaurants and markets and restrictive stay-at-home orders.

“The past 17 months have shown the importance and value of community, and our community has kept us afloat,” Issa says. “Not only our customers, but also the incredible producers we work with, or alongside whom we sell our products at farmers’ markets and local stores. From John Fairley at Country Valley Dairy who we buy our cream from to Alex Olsson of Olsson’s Salt [used in Pepe Saya butter] and the producers we’ve collaborated with on our packs and products on our online store, the collaboration and respect in this community is one of a kind. To be completely frank, we wouldn’t be here without them.”

The Olsson family has been making solar sea salt since 1948.

The success of last year’s Aussie Artisan Week demonstrated that a passion for locally made products exists in the Australian community. The founders hope that as the week continues to grow, so too does awareness of and support for artisans throughout the year.

“We’ve realised that Australians really do value Australian-made, and so we want to help people discover more local alternatives as they do their weekly shopping,” says Altman. “We could all do with the reminder to stop a minute before we ‘add to cart’ and think about what we’re buying, where it comes from and who we’re supporting when we buy it.

“People don’t realise the buying power they have. Some simple changes in the weekly grocery shop can make the world of difference to an artisan – particularly now, when it’s essential for their survival. There’s also a real need to preserve old-world artisan techniques before they’re lost. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.”

Zokoko Artisan Chocolate sources unique cacao beans direct from growers.

This year, Aussie Artisan Week founders have enlisted other Australian artisans to help them spread the good word about the importance of supporting local artisan producers. If they’re in your local area, seek them out and let them know they have your support:

NSW: Crumpets by Merna, Country Valley Dairy, Mapo Gelato, Louise M. Ceramics, Pecora Dairy, Zokoko Artisan Chocolate, The Apple Shed

Vic: Yarra Valley Caviar, Chateau Acid

ACT: Ainslie Urban Farm

Tas: Grandvewe Cheese (pictured at very top), Bruny Island Cheese, Meru Miso

SA: Olsson’s Salt, Nice Pickles

Qld: Sobah Beverages

WA: The Mushroom Guys

NT: The Bakery Alice Springs

Aussie Artisan Week runs from August 16-23. In the lead-up to the week, Aussie Artisan Week will be sharing the stories of other artisans on its Instagram page and is encouraging all Australian artisans and supporters of artisans to get involved by sharing their artisan-made products and purchases, tagging @AussieArtisanWeek and using the hashtag #AussieArtisanWeek. Aussie Artisan Week will continue to update its website so it can be used as a discovery platform to help you find brands getting involved, as well as local farmers’ markets that you can visit around the country.